Upset Alert As Marissa Mayer Takes Over Yahoo

| About: Yahoo! Inc. (AABA)

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Marissa Mayer, the head of Google's (GOOG) Local efforts with 25% of the company's headcount reporting to her, has quit and will start work as CEO of Yahoo (YHOO) tomorrow.

As BetaBeat stated just now, "Holy Crap."

The New York Times' Dealbook gets credit for the scoop.

Dealbook's take on this was that Mayer's advancement within Google was stymied by the choice of rival executive Jeff Huber to be above her in a 2011 reorganization. But how unfriendly a move can this be when she can quit today and be there tomorrow?

Interim CEO Ross Levinsohn had been favored for the gig, since he was brought in through the impetus of Third Point's Daniel Loeb, considered the power behind the throne at the company. But some wondered if Levinsohn, previously known for having helped sell MySpace to News Corp., was anything more than an "ad guy."

Mayer, now 37, was the 20th employee hired by Google back in the day, when she was 24. She had headed search operations before moving to local in 2010. She's a Stanford Engineer, who did time at SRI International and the Ubilab at Zurich before signing on at Google.

In April, she was nominated to be on the board at WalMart and this should have been a tell that the woman had ambition. But most in the media ignored it, figuring WalMart (WMT) had just thrown Google a bone.

Mayer joins a thin rank of female tech CEOs that includes Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Virginia Rometty of IBM (IBM) and (sort of) Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Mayer told Dealbook she hopes to get more mileage out of things Yahoo now has a strong position in, email, finance and sports, while improving its efforts in video and mobile. That's pretty boilerplate, but it's unlikely she could have beaten Levinsohn to the job had she not laid out some sort of plan that was superior to what he was offering.

Reaction in the tech media to this is overwhelmingly positive. The stock was up almost 2% in after-hours trading.

My own view is this. Sometimes a squirrel finds a nut. Sometimes a company gets lucky. In my view this is the most bullish thing that has happened to Yahoo in many years. Suddenly you have a strong, young leader who knows all your arch-rival's secrets.

This is going to be fun.

Disclosure: I am long GOOG, IBM.

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